Very enjoyable morning on 144.200MHz – 2m SSB

Wow! What a morning. Well worth the effort and definitely something I want to try again!

This morning I got up nice and early all inspired to give some 2m SSB a go from Red Hill (QF44NP). Admittedly, I got there a bit later than planned, but still I was on the air by about 0810hrs local time.

Straight away there was activity heard and the calls were being made. In the end a one hours effort resulted in successfully making 6 contacts on 2m and 2 contacts on 70cm – glad I bothered to check the SWR of the dipole last night on both bands so that I knew 70cm was an option. I also heard quite a bit of activity down around 4/1 to 5/1 but those of which I tried could not hear me. That said though, I made a partial contact to VK3DUT which I was rather happy with.

I could hear VK3DUT 5/1 with out a problem, but in the end he could only get a partial on my call sign (reporting VK1F something) and reported me at 4/1. Eventually this path faded so I'm wondering if that was maybe my first attempt at some aircraft enhancement??

That also said I was very impressed with the contacts I made to VK2DO down the coast at 5/8 and also VK2GKA in Penrose, NSW. Oh, and I did have another partial contact with VK2KOL in West Sydney but in the end all he heard of me was VK1.

So in the end the list of contacts were:

VL2DO – Long Beach, NSW
VK2GKA – Penrose, NSW

Partial contacts


Heard clearly, but no contact

VK2EMA – Tottenham, NSW

And this was all done with a simple dipole and an FT-817ND transmitting 5W. It is truly impressive the range increase you get with SSB compared to FM. That smaller bandwidth really makes a change, and also the fact you can have completely readable signals that aren't even registering on the S meter.

One other good thing, was that setup and tear down each took less than 5 minutes. So minimal hassle on the way to work of a morning, and definitely doable when dressed in a suit.

I definitely look forward to doing this again! I'm impressed by the level of activity and the ease with which one can have a pretty good level of participation (minimal antenna setup, minimal power level). Plus, I'm now really keen to have a week-end when I can get my beams active!!

Next up, 2m lunchtime net.

Photos run down:
1 & 2) Photos of the setup of the 'mast' and antenna on the vehicle;
3) Inside setup of the FT-817ND and notepad;
4) Showing the simple method used to attach the 'mast' to the bull bar.



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